Whoop! Dat Nguyen to be inducted into College Football Hall of Fame
Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker and coach Dat Nguyen, who enjoyed a legendary career at Texas A&M University, is one of 13 players and coaches announced as part of the 2017 Class of the College Football Hall of Fame which was announced Monday.
A 3rd round pick of the Cowboys in the 1999 Draft, Nguyen is the first Vietnamese-American to play in the NFL. Before joining the Cowboys where he played for seven seasons (1999-2005) and coached for three more (2007-09), Nguyen was a record-setting and game-changing linebacker for the Aggies from 1995-1998.
Nguyen was a four-year starting linebacker (1995-98) and set a school record with 51 consecutive starts and 517 career tackles. He won two national awards following his senior season including the Lombardi Award, the Bednarik Award, and the Jack Lambert Award. He was also named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year his senior season.
Nguyen led the Aggies in tackles each of his four seasons and averaged double-digit tackles per game. He is already a member of the Texas A&M Athletics Hall of Fame, The Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and The Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. He is one of the most decorated Aggie athletes of all-time, and deservedly so. He was the leader of ‘The Wrecking Crew’, the nickname given to the Aggies defense.
L.M. Otero via AP
After being drafted by the Cowboys, Nguyen was named to the All-Rookie Team. By his second season, he was the team’s starting middle linebacker. In his third season, he led the Cowboys in tackles with 172.
After Bill Parcells arrival in Dallas in 2003, Parcells gave Nguyen the ultimate compliment when he called him “a football playing dude!” Nguyen was named 2nd Team All Pro that same season. He retired following the 2005 season due to neck and knee injuries. He joined the Cowboys coaching staff two seasons later.
Nguyen will be joined in the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Draft Class by other notable players including Peyton Manning, Brian Urlacher, Marshall Faulk, Matt Leinart, Steve Spurrier, and former Texas Longhorns offensive tackle Bob McKay.
The class will be officially inducted at an awards dinner in December, 2017 in New York. The College Football Hall of Fame is located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.
*Writer’s note: I’m biased because I’m an Aggie as well as work for the Dallas Cowboys, but is there anyone more deserving of this honor than Dat Nguyen? Whether you rooted for the Aggies or one of our rivals, there’s no doubt that Dat embodied all that is great about college football and student athletics. He was a monster on the field, and a role model off it. He carried himself with class and continues to make his fellow alumni proud. As a Cowboy, he was supposed to be too short/small to make it in this league. But he was truly a ‘football playing dude’ whose instincts were spot-on, he was analytical. He knew the plays before the offense ran them, and he was tough as nails. He was Sean Lee before Sean Lee. All of us who know Dat are proud to call him our friend. Way to go, Dat. Or – as we say in Aggieland – WHOOP!!!!